Facebook, Zuckerberg, and Big Oil

Facebook has established itself as a social platform juggernaut, with more than 1.11 billion users. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder , has recently raised some eyebrows with his new political group FWD.us. The effort was supposedly launched to create discussion and action around immigration reform, until ulterior motives were brought to light in recent T.V. campaigns. The ads aired made no mention of immigration reform, but rather backed politicians supporting drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) and creation of the Keystone XL pipeline. Progressive groups such as MoveOn.org, the Sierra Club, CREDO, and Presente have threatened to cancel Facebook ad contracts and hold bought ad placements. “It’s disappointing that having taken a very public stand for clean, renewable energy, Mark Zuckerberg is now playing the politics of dirty oil. You’d hope the visionary behind Facebook would be looking to the clean energy economy of our future rather than falling for the pipe dreams of the dinosaur fossil fuel industry. Where’s the dislike button?” Ross Hammond, senior campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said in a statement. Facebook ads made by CREDO against Zuckerberg’s actions have been removed by Facebook for “violating advertising policies”.

CREDO Mobile's Facebook ad

CREDO Mobile’s Facebook ad

Fwd.us has already raised $25 million. However, the platform in which Zuckerberg found his success may in turn facilitate the destruction of his image. Countless case-studies of social media backlash have ruined businesses that have made controversial decisions. It will be interesting, and quite vindicating, to see what happens next. And don’t feel bad taking a hand in it. Power in the masses, social media style.

Source: Amanda Terkel, Huffington Post, May 7 2013; Andy Kroll, Mother Jones, May 7 1013; Aviva Shen, Think Progress, Apr 30, 2013; Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times, April 11 2013

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